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Jefferson County legislative committee accepts donation of 2 Humvees

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Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies will soon be able to respond to emergency standoff situations with an armor-plated Humvee that used to belong to Fort Drum.

A county Board of Legislators committee unanimously agreed to accept two Humvees by way of a donation from the Department of Defense. One will go into service at the airport. The sheriff’s department will use the other vehicle.

The vehicle that the sheriff’s department will use is designed to withstand explosions and gunfire. It has a gun turret, but the gun has been removed, Sheriff John P. Burns said.

The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, or SERT, will have use of the vehicle, Mr. Burns said. Jefferson County residents won’t see it out and about on leisurely country drives or on typical day-to-day patrol.

Instead, the vehicle will be used to respond to emergency situations such as standoffs where the suspect has a gun. The vehicle could be used to drive right up to the house and fire tear gas inside without putting deputies at risk.

“That’s the only thing it’s going to be used for,” Mr. Burns said.

Right now, if the county wants to use a vehicle like a Humvee, it has to call in to Onondaga County or state police.

The sheriff’s vehicle will be spray-painted black and adorned with a sheriff’s department logo. It’s valued at $47,000, according to County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III. The cost to the county for insurance and upkeep will be minimal.

The county also will make use of a 1993 model Humvee with only about 200 miles on it. It will be stationed at the airport and used to conduct perimeter searches to make sure the airport’s security hasn’t been breached, among other tasks.

The Department of Defense has given several upstate counties surplus Humvees. Ulster County, for example, used its donated Humvee to rescue flood victims in the Catskills in 2010.

Last week, the department said it was launching a full audit of the equipment it had donated to law enforcement agencies around the state, according to the Associated Press. The department is trying to account for equipment that may have gone missing.

On July 3, the full board will vote on whether to accept the donation from the Department of Defense.

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